Prepared to Prepare (Part 2)

by Morris Ruddick on May 5, 2012


 (c) Morris Ruddick

Note: This is part 2 of a post that targets a strategic spiritual dynamic reflecting the realities of the times. It bears on the need for something more than the best our human efforts can offer. It touches the need for the true implementation of the principles of Jesus’ Kingdom message. It marks the need for the employment of righteous power in a corrupt world that draws together a maturity, a leadership and an authority as the basis for countering the evil behind the world’s corrupt power structures.

It provides a glimpse of subtle spiritual tensions manifesting in the world today as we come upon a time that parallels when Pharaoh recognized Joseph’s prophetic wisdom:  a time of preparation preceding judgment.



In Part 1 of this post (, I touched on the issues of The Realities of the Times; The Fire of Preparation; The Blindness of Job’s Friends; Discerning Evil Words; and Idle and Evil Words of Insiders. After a brief review of the Realities of the Times, we pick up with a section on Job’s Friends.

“Justice is turned back and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter. So truth fails and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. But the LORD saw it and it displeased Him. He wondered that there was no intercessor. So He put on righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation; He put on the garments of vengeance and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds He will repay fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun. So when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:14-19

The Realities of the Times
Religious freedoms that have been taken for granted since the fall of the Iron and Bamboo Curtains are being challenged. There likewise is a struggle underway for the soul of Africa, where on one continent are found the resources sought by the rest of the world.

The spiritual realities taking place in the world today; the creeping, reemerging evil ultimately will affect the entire Body and should be providing a sobering perspective that tempers our priorities. The times have experienced a shift and it is time to prepare.

The story of Job’s path through the fire unveils truths pertinent to the righteous being prepared. Job was a righteous man in the sight of God. He was a spiritual forerunner and business leader of his day. As in the case with Job, the evil one’s encounters with today’s righteous face a barrier of protection represented by the anointing of God’s presence.

Not surprisingly, Satan found access to counter this divine protection. It was through the blindness of ones Job regarded as friends. Contemporaneously, the evil one has employed gateways through the soulish nature of those closest to those being prepared to prepare.

These are inside affiliations the devil can easily provoke with his undermining objectives. These are relationships reflecting a spiritual blindness marked by limited or misguided priorities and perspectives that the enemy can harness to serve his diversionary and destructive tactics.

When righteous leaders are undermined, it not only removes the protective barriers tied to the leader’s authority, but opens the gates for judgment. For Job, the fire was fueled by his wife and then by his friends. When the accuser operates, it seldom is on a single level. It begins with whispers landing at the doorstep of those in close relationship with the one targeted. It can then escalate to levels of judgmental pronouncements unleashing fires of affliction and disarray creating imploding consequences on the entire community.

Job’s Friends
It wasn’t Job’s enemies who came to him during the height of his distress. It was not a committee of distant acquaintances. The scriptures tell us, it was his friends. It was people he trusted; people he should have been able to turn to in tough times.

Job’s friends operated behind a thin veil constrained by immaturity, spiritual blindness and wrong priorities. They were predisposed to respond with criticism, complaints and judgment. As community leaders, they projected their limited views, presuming on God and fell short. They saw faults rather than potential. They undermined rather than affirmed. They projected evil rather than protecting.

The words of Job’s friends, like those of Job’s wife, became fuel for the flames of fire in the hell Job was walking through. Job’s friends attempted to deal with spiritual matters judgmentally according to the precepts of men, rather than from God’s big-picture perspective (John 7: 18). Job was being prepared. He was a leader of leaders and his authority would bear spiritual impact on the future of the community, as well as generations to come.

God was not happy with Job’s friends. The scripture says that His wrath was aroused against them, because they had not spoken of Him what was right, as Job had (Job 42:7-8). It took Job praying for the misfires of his friends; to release them from the judgment they themselves had pronounced, which now stood at their door.

The Gatekeeper Leader Standard: Righteous Power in a Corrupt World
King Saul also dug himself into a hole. His downfall was his concern tied to the words of those he was called to lead. There’s a vast difference between being a people-person and one with an emptiness of soul that seeks for the approval of men. It’s a distinguishing crux of leadership. Saul lost his calling and destiny because of this heart issue: the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). His leadership crumbled because of a lack of trust in God; he was obsessed and swayed by what others said and thought.

At the heart of Kingdom leadership is the employment of righteous power in a corrupt world. Saul, like Job served a function of building up, protecting and taking those around him to the next level. Yet, his lack of spiritual maturity, faith and right priorities resulted in him becoming like everyone else and he failed. Kingdom leadership requires something more.

The opening scripture (Isaiah 59:14-19) captures today’s setting. Kingdom community-level leaders must be prepared to enter a time of preparing. Facing an onslaught of evil requires an upgrade for the gatekeeper leader who in turn will lift the standard for the community. Job was being prepared in the role as the righteous intercessor-leader sought in Isaiah 59:16. Joseph likewise epitomized that role within a worldly setting. He harnessed the resources of Egypt for God’s purposes, while bestowing untold blessings of God on Egypt in the process.

Job repented for his short-sighted, constrained perspective in his role as a righteous (tz’dak) community leader. He weathered the brutal assault of judgment arrayed against him. He repented for limiting God. However, it was when Job prayed for his friends, that his role as gatekeeper-intercessor came to the forefront and his own full release of blessings began.

When Jesus admonished His followers to bless those who curse them, it marked the responsibility of community leaders who serve as gatekeeper-intercessors who stand in the gap on behalf of the community against the incursion of evil and its impending judgment. Job blessed those who had cursed him. That act resulted in him entering into a whole new arena in his role as a leader. It took him into a much higher level of trust in the Lord, with a service to others that was beyond him. Job was a righteous man who became an honorable man.

Honor: The Catalyst to Prepare
Honor kicks in when righteousness becomes devoid of self-righteousness and pride. The story of Job tracks the progression of this attribute of honor.

In Job 29, in defending himself to his friends, Job spoke of how his own honor, glory and strength had previously been constantly renewed: within him. In Job 30, he confessed that with all the terrors being turned upon him, his honor, reputation and welfare had been “chased away.”

However, in Job 40, as Job again tried to defend himself along these lines, the Lord challenged Job: to even try, to clothe himself with the honor that only God retains. In the 41st chapter (in the Amplified Bible), something significant happened in Job.

That glimmer of revelation transformed Job’s entire perspective in his knowledge of and relationship to the Lord — and in his own identity, as he acknowledged: “Therefore I now see I have rashly uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. I had heard of You only by the hearing of the ear, but now my spiritual eye sees You. Therefore I loathe my words and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.

The one with honor has no need to be right, but will always support what is right. Real honor is uniquely tied to a righteous heart, one emptied of self and pride and personal agendas and ambitions. It is a heart that has entered into the rest of God spoken of in Hebrews.

The heart at rest is a heart that has ceased from striving and has entered into that level of oneness and harmony with the Lord that we describe as “flowing in His Spirit.” Real honor involves a heart that is not hesitant to say it has been wrong. It involves a humble yet generous and magnanimous spirit. An honorable person esteems others higher than themselves. True Kingdom leaders are marked by persons who seek not for promotion or recognition, but service.

While the scripture says that the Lord told Satan that Job was righteous, the subsequent shaking he went through produced an entire new level of righteousness. This subtle truth underscores why judgment first comes to the household of faith. When Job entered into his trials his honor was based on his reputation. However, Job’s wife and his friends found flaws and became critics of his reputation. They unconsciously aligned themselves with the designs of the accuser, which was to destroy Job. But the Lord wouldn’t allow for Job’s destruction.

Instead when Job emerged, he possessed an honor and authority bestowed upon him by the Lord. With that was a new identity. The future of Job’s accusers wound up at his mercy. Job’s transition was from one who was an unqualified righteous man, to one who had become a truly honorable man.

Biblically, to be “honorable” incorporates a righteous heart and wisdom that is always seeking for the higher good. The person who is honorable is one who has a reputation that can be trusted. They can be trusted to be as Nathaniel, one without guile or intrigue; to operate free of hidden agendas and issues. When Jesus prophesied that Nathaniel would see the heavens open and the angels ascending and descending on the Son of man (John 1:51), He was indicating Nathaniel was a man who could be trusted with the secret issues of God’s heart.

An honorable person is a totally dependable person; one who does not compromise or self-righteously betray. An honorable person is quick to bestow honor, where honor is due. However, a person cannot assume honor or seek for it. It comes from a consistently righteous, humble and unassuming life, one that ultimately is recognized in its wisdom and service to others.

Proverbs has a lot to say about honor. In both the 15th and 18th chapters it says that honor is preceded by humility. Proverbs also says that an honorable man keeps himself far from strife, while a fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 21 indicates that the one who earnestly seeks after righteousness, mercy, and loving-kindness will find life, in addition to righteousness and honor. Proverbs also reveals that:  “The reward of humility and the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” It also states that pride and honor are incompatible and that:  “he who is of a humble spirit will obtain honor.” Wisdom and honor work together. Ecclesiastes 10 points out the eroding factor in folly: that even a “little folly in one who is valued for his wisdom will outweigh his wisdom and honor.”

Psalm 15 outlines the elements of one walking in honor. The honorable one is one: “….who walks with integrity and works righteousness; and speaks truth in his heart.  Who does not slander with his tongue nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend. In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord. Who swears to his own hurt and does not change. Who does not put out his money at interest, nor take up a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

True honor begets an unusual level of authority. It is an authority that is laced with humility and the fear of the Lord: the type of authority evidenced in Joseph, even while he was still a slave and in prison. True honor is a catalyst for a high level of faith. True honor within a community leader is a magnet for the wisdom of God and carries a mandate to prepare.

Maturity and Leadership: The Gateway to Prepare
We have entered a time in which a creeping evil is penetrating the world we live in. It is an evil seeking entrance and infiltration into righteous circles of influence within both the world and the Body. It is an evil targeting God’s very elect. Yet over the centuries, God has had Jobs, Josephs, Daniels and other leaders of honor who would face and overcome the inroads of evil for the good of God’s people.

Kingdom leaders serve first as gatekeeper-intercessors. They wield the maturity, trust and authority to stand in the gap, at the gate so to speak, on behalf of the community for which they are responsible. With that function is the role to prepare. Kingdom leaders bear the responsibility to raise the standard for the community, as the community serves an inward role of protection and an outward role as a light to the world around them. They raise the standard of community maturity. In so doing, they create safe havens against the inroads of evil.

With the gatekeeper-intercessor’s pushback against evil will come the purifying fire that results in a shift in the foundations from which the Body operates. It is a shift brought to the forefront through those prepared for pivotal times: those prepared with the maturity and authority to face the fires and to prepare. These are ones who have been willing to pay the cost of the fire; which like Job, may involve their position in the community, their wealth and even their family.

These are ones called by God to penetrate the fabric of society with God’s initiatives and focus. These are men and women of God, untainted and sold-out as Joseph the Patriarch was when he emerged as God’s man of honor for the hour, when he was promoted to sit alongside of Pharaoh and entrusted with the mantle to prepare.

These are anointed ones, like Job, who have persevered and penetrated that constraining spiritual barrier, who are emerging from the fire without the smell of smoke.

For those emerging from this time of preparation, it will involve much greater responsibilities: for their communities, nations and resources. It will involve unique pathways by which the Kingdom is advanced, not by the approval or precepts of men, but rather the employment of righteous power in corrupt settings that brings the change that delivers from the bondage of corruption; the change that demonstrates the reality of God in the context of worldly settings.

The days have become evil. Yet, God’s power is not only greater, but His anticipatory strategies will mark this as a time of incredible opportunity for those He has found trustworthy to prepare, in the midst of reversals and discontinuities.
“Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the storehouse of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?” “The LORD has opened His armory, and has brought out the weapons of His indignation; for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts.”

Job 38: 22, 23 and Jeremiah 50:25

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